Sport The Left Wing

Wednesday 18 July 2018

'I couldn't move my arms' - Luke Fitzgerald reveals the toughest training session and game of his career

29 January 2016; Ireland's Luke Fitzgerald during squad training. Ireland Rugby Squad Open Training, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
29 January 2016; Ireland's Luke Fitzgerald during squad training. Ireland Rugby Squad Open Training, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

Luke Fitzgerald has branded Ireland's near miss against the All Blacks in 2013 as the toughest match he ever played in.

New Zealand struck at the death through Ryan Crotty to snatch a 24-22 win, depriving Ireland of what would have been their first victory against the All Blacks.

Fitzgerald played the last 30 minutes that day but despite only coming off the bench, he says the intensity of the clash was the highest he ever experienced.

Speaking on this week's episode of The Left Wing, Independent.ie's rugby podcast in association with Laya Healthcare, Fitzgerald looked back on the physically exhausting encounter.

"The New Zealand game in 2013," Fitzgerald answered when asked what the toughest game of his career was.

"I came on at about 50 minutes for Brian O'Driscoll and I had the highest workload of any of the backs in the second half. I gave that everything I had. There was a four minute period of play at the end where it was one of the worst I ever felt. I actually had some good involvements in the last bit and Joe actually mentioned it. I remember thinking 'I must be really unfit' but I just never got a chance to get a second wind because the game was so fast paced."

Fitzgerald had an even tougher experience on the training ground before the 2011 World Cup. The former Ireland international recounted a brutal fitness session that pushed his body so hard that he couldn't use his arms due to cramp.

"We were training for the 2011 World Cup and my body completely collapsed," Fitzgerald said.

"I ended up cramping really badly. I cramped so badly, I was in such bad shape after one of the sessions that I was pushing a sled along and both my arms were in full cramp. We had to do a run after and I couldn't move my arms.

"I was trying to finish off a sprint. Both arms cramping, stuck down by my side. I couldn't even straighten them because then my triceps would cramp. And when I was bending them my biceps would cramp.

"It was one of those awful, awful sessions."

Subscribe to The Left Wing, Independent.ie's Rugby podcast in association with Laya Healthcare, with Luke Fitzgerald and Will Slattery for the best discussion and analysis each week. From in depth interviews with some of Irish rugby's biggest stars to unmatched insights into the provinces and the national team, The Left Wing has all your rugby needs covered.

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